Changes to Legal Handgun Carry in Maryland

With Governor Moore's approval, The Maryland General Assembly has passed two bills that substantially burden Marylanders' right to armed self-defense in public. Starting October 1st, 2023, SB 1 bans public carry in most buildings by default unless a building's owner or agent provides express consent to carry inside. It also makes a host of places completely off-limits regardless of what the property owner says. HB 824 affects carry permits themselves by increasing permit fees, affecting background investigations, increasing the penalty for carrying a handgun without a permit, and imposing new disqualifiers on the possession of regulated firearms. These restrictions on legal handgun carriage are largely in addition to the places already off-limits as covered in our State and Local weapons laws guide. Read more about these two bills and your right to protect yourself.

On behalf of our members and in partnership with the Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition, Maryland Shall Issue and three individual plaintiffs are challenging unconstitutional aspects of SB 1, the so-called “Gun Safety Act of 2023” in the US District Court for the District of Maryland. SB 1 effectively nullifies the "general right to carry in public" for carry permit holders confirmed by the Supreme Court's decision NYSRPA v. Bruen just this last June. It does so by banning firearms in a whole host of locations otherwise open to the public, including places like stores and shops, restaurants, museums, and healthcare facilities. The suit also challenges the general ban on possession of firearms on public transit owned or controlled by the State Mass Transit Administration and in the tens of thousands of acres of woodlands in State parks, State forests, and State Chesapeake forest lands. We have every confidence that we will prevail in whole or in part in this suit.

Find more about Novotny v. Moore HERE.

Current as of 9/30/23. This section will continue to be updated.

Sensitive Places (SB 1) - Effective 10/01/2023:

NEW:  Enforcement of SB 1 Preliminarily Enjoined In Part:  On September 29, 2023, a federal district court enjoined enforcement of (1) that part of SB1 that presumptively banned carry by permit holders in privately owned buildings otherwise open to the public (2) that part of SB1 that flatly banned (except by the owner) firearms in locations licensed to serve alcohol for on-site consumption, and (3) that part of existing State law that banned firearms within 1000 feet of a demonstration. The Court's opinion can be found HERE and the Court's order can be found HERE. 

SB 1 creates two new sections in the Criminal Law Article, Section 4-111 and Section 6-411 and each applies to different types of property and each are subject to different exceptions. Note that the restrictions imposed are in addition to the existing restrictions on firearms otherwise imposed by current law, such as carrying on public school property. These new restrictions apply to carry permit holders and non- permit holders alike.

Section 4-111 creates new firearms bans in three new categories of areas:

1. An "area for children and vulnerable individuals," which includes a preschool or prekindergarten facility and the grounds thereof, a private primary or secondary school and the grounds thereof, and a health care facility, as defined in § 15-10B-01(G)(1),(2),(3), and (4) of the Insurance Article

2. A "government or public infrastructure area," which includes a building or any part of a building owned or leased by the state or a local government, a building of a public or private institution of higher education, as defined in § 10-101 of the Education Article, an electric plant or electric storage facility, a gas plant or a nuclear power facility,  as defined in § 1-101 of the Public Utilities Article. Note that a building owned or leased by the State or a local government "must display a clear and conspicuous sign at the main entrance of the building indicating that it is not permissible to wear, carry or transport a firearm" in the building or part of the building. 

3. A "special purpose area," which includes a location licensed to sell or dispense alcohol or cannabis for on-site consumption, a stadium, a museum, a racetrack or video lottery facility, as defined in § 9-1A-01 of the State Government Article  (mainly casinos). 

Section 6-411 bans all firearms in:

1. Private dwellings, except with "express permission" of the owner (or owner's agent), excluding common areas in a condominium, as defined in § 11-101 of the Real Property Article, property of a cooperative housing corporation other than a unit as defined in § 5-6B-01 of the Corporations and Associations Article, or common areas of a multifamily dwelling as defined in § 12-203 of the Public Safety Article

2. Private property of all kinds unless the owner or owner's agent has posted a "clear and conspicuous sign stating that it is permissible to wear, carry or transport a firearm" on such property or has given a person "express permission" to do so on the property.

Exceptions from carry restrictions:

As noted, SB 1 creates exceptions from the bans in each of the two sections, Section 4-111 and Section 6-411, and those exceptions are different for each section. By definition, the exceptions are applicable only to the locations otherwise addressed by Section 4-111 or Section 6-411. The exceptions don't apply to other areas outside of those locations. As to these other areas, existing law continues to apply.

The exceptions applicable to Section 4-111 are:

- On private property
, by persons authorized by the owner or lessee to wear and carry or transport a firearm for the purpose of employment as (1) a security guard OR (2) for the purpose of protecting any individual or property at the location with an express agreement between the parties, remuneration, or compensation.
- On public property,  at locations being used with the permission of the person or governmental unit that owns, leases, or controls the location for organized shooting activities for educational purposes, historical demonstrations using firearms, or hunting or target shooting

-Firearms that are carried or transported in a motor vehicle if the firearm is locked in a container or handguns worn, carried, or transported in compliance with any limitations imposed under § 5-307 of the Public Safety Article by those who permits to wear, carry or transport handguns have been issued under Title 5, Subtitle 3 of the Public Safety Article. This does not affect transport of firearms under current law in areas unaffected by SB 1.
-Law enforcement officials or police officers as defined under § 3-201 of the Public Safety Article
-Members of the Armed Forces of the United States, the National Guard, or the Uniformed Services while on duty or traveling to or from duty
-Members of an ROTC program while participating in an activity for an ROTC program
-On-duty employees of a law enforcement agency authorized by the agency to possess firearms on duty or whose duty assignment involves the possession of firearms
-Correctional officers or wardens of a correctional facility in the State
-Railroad police officers appointed under Title 3, Subtitled 4 of the Public Safety Article
-Employees of an armed car company, if acting under the scope of employment and has valid permits to wear, carry, or transport handguns issued under Title 5, Subtitle 3 of the Public Safety Article
-Off-duty law enforcement officials or retired law enforcement officials in good standing from the United States, the State or another state, or a local unit in the State or another state who possesses a firearm if their badge or credential is carried in compliance with the requirements of the badge or credential and the firearm is carried or possessed by the official or person is concealed from view. (LEOSA)

The exceptions for Section 6-411 are: 

- Law enforcement officers and police officers, as defined in Section 3-201 of the Public Safety Article (not retired LEOSA),
- Members of the Armed Forces of the United States, while on duty or traveling to and from duty,
- Correctional officers
- The wearing, carrying or transporting on a portion of real property subject to an easement, a right of way, a servitude or any other property interest by (1) the holder of the interest or (2) the guest or assignee of the holder of the interest.

SB 1 also Requires:

-Handguns must be carried concealed from view under or within an article of the wearer’s clothing or within an enclosed case, but doesn't penalize the momentary and inadvertent display of a concealed firearm

Penalty Upon Conviction for Being in a Sensitive Area as Outlined in SB 1:

-Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1-year imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding $1000. If on supervised probation, handguns cannot be legally possessed

Changes to Handgun Possession (HB 824) - Effective 10/01/2023:

New prohibiting factors from legal handgun possession:
-If on supervised probation for a conviction of a crime punishable for 1 year or more, a violation of § 21-902(b) or (c) of the Transportation Article, or violating a protective order under § 4-509 of the Family Law Article. Note: Possession is not prohibited for those who have only received Probation Before Judgement (PBJ) for these offenses

Changes to Carry Permits (HB 824) - Effective 10/01/2023:

-Permit fees for initial and renewal applications increase to $125 and $75 respectively. Duplicate or modifications to permits double to $20
-Current renewal periods are left unaffected (2 years and then til the applicant's birthday for initial permit, 3 years for renewals)
-Maryland’s “good and substantial reason” requirement for issuance of a permit to wear, carry, or transport a handgun currently under MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-306(a) is fully repealed from law
-The State Police may revoke a permit from a holder who doesn’t maintain possession of their permit while carrying
-The State Police must revoke permits from those who do not continue to be qualified for a permit
-The State Police must provide written, detailed notice to a person whose application or permit has been denied, revoked, or limited
-Applicants and permit holders may not be respondents to current non-ex parte civil protective orders, current extreme risk protective orders, or any other type of current court order prohibiting the person from purchasing or possessing firearms
-Applicants must not be prohibited by State or federal law from purchasing or possessing handguns
-Applicants must not have been convicted of a second or subsequent violation of § 4-104 of the Criminal Law Article, or if that violation resulted in the use of a loaded firearm by a child causing death or serious bodily injury to the child or another person — these affected persons may not have a permit issued to them for five years following conviction
-Reporting by the State Police to the status of information about how many permits are issued, revoked, holder demographics, and other information related to the issuance of permits

New prohibiting factors from permit issuance:
-If on supervised probation for a conviction of a crime punishable for 1 year or more, a violation of § 21-902(b) or (c) of the Transportation Article, or violating a protective order under § 4-509 of the Family Law Article
-If suffering from a mental disorder as defined in § 10-101(I)(2) of the Health - General Article and has a history of violent behavior against the person or another
-Has been involuntarily admitted for more than 30 consecutive days to a facility as defined in § 10-101 of the Health - General Article
-Is a respondent against whom a current non ex parte civil protective order has been entered under § 4-506 of the Family Law Article, a current Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO or "red flag") has been entered under § 5-601 of this title, or any other type of current cour order has been entered prohibiting the person from purchasing or possessing firearms
-Is otherwise prohibited by State or Federal law  from purchasing or possessing a handgun

Changes to Required Training (HB 824) - Effective 10/01/2023:

-Training must be provided in person
-The Maryland State Police have released a curriculum that incorporates the following:
hb824 training3hb824 training3hb824 training3

-The State police must take reasonable steps to ensure the surrender of any regulated firearms from those prohibited from possessing regulated firearms under MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-133
-Any new requirements to the permit application process imposed by HB 824  do not apply retroactively, but only to initial applicants and renewing permit holders from 10/01/2023 onward
HB824 is not retroactive
-A severability clause in the bill protects the law as a whole should any part of it be struck as unconstitutional

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